Thank you Kikilala for the kofi!
“Have you replaced the chef? I think the taste of the food has changed.”
Helena stopped eating and asked.
“Yes, he was replaced recently.”
Helena tilted her head at Chloe’s answer.
“Really? I think the previous chef was better at his job.”
“I guess the former chef’s dishes suit Mother’s taste buds better.”
Chloe explained slowly.
“However, there’s nothing that can be done as the chef is so old. His son took over his father’s place and I’m sure he will catch up in no time.”
“Well, I understand.”
Helena nodded in agreement. She turned her attention to Abel, who was sitting beside her.
“Abel, would you like to go out with your grandmother tomorrow?”
“Yes. The weather seems nice, so we should go to a nearby lake.”
Gerard was not pleased with how his mother changed the family’s weekend plan as she pleased. A sharp remark quickly left his lips.
“We have a separate plan today…”
Chloe stopped him by putting her hand over his.
“That’s great. Let’s go on a picnic together.”
“Wow! Does that mean we can go to the lake and ride a boat as well?”
Abel, who was getting excited, asked his mother.
“Yes, that’s right. You can ride with Grandma.”
However, the answer came from Helena, not Chloe. Gerard frowned again.
He had never been close to his mother, but this time he was particularly upset with her. He attempted to spend quality time with his family for the first time in a while, and he considered his mother an intruder to that plan.
However, the lake outing was surprisingly nice. The lingering summer sun felt warm, and the early autumn breeze blew invigoratingly. The waves of the lake reflected the sunlight and scintillated incessantly.
Abel waved his hand from the boat he was riding as it gently traversed through the water.
“You must be careful, Abel.”
Helena, who was beside Abel, held him so that the child’s body wouldn’t fall forward.
The scene was warm and peaceful. The Blanchett couple, who were sitting near the lake, waved their hands hastily in case the child tried to get up again.
Chloe cautiously spoke when she was left alone with Gerard.
“Yes, my Lady.”
“Do you like your mother’s visit?”
She felt strange towards her husband, who was more sensitive than usual.
“…I think I don’t like it.”
Gerard replied after thinking for a moment. Chloe noticed his expression momentarily stiffen.
‘Can I ask him more?’
Chloe hesitated for a moment, but ultimately decided to ask more. Nothing would change if she left it there.
“Why? Are you uncomfortable… looking at your mother?”
Gerard reflected on his feelings once again to answer Chloe’s question.
“I don’t know. It’s just…”
He lifted his head and looked out into the distance, to Abel and Helena, who were riding on the boat.
His feelings for his mother were on edge which was probably because he reminisced over the past recently. He got goosebumps thinking about who his mother thought of when looking at Abel.
But that wasn’t all.
“Sometimes I feel unfair because I’ve never experienced it.”
He felt complicated every time he saw his mother being affectionate with his son. The affectionate gestures such as initiating eye contact, hugging, and stroking his hair. Those were affectionate gestures he’d never gotten when he was young.
Why was the only woman who could do that being so hard on him? He felt bitter and empty.
However, Gerard didn’t want to dwell on his past. The people by his side were too precious.
Gerard suddenly laid on Chloe’s knees.
Chloe called out in surprise at his sudden behavior.
Gerard pulled Chloe’s hand and put it on his forehead. He smiled with half-moon shaped eyes while looking up at his wife.
“Chloe, please stroke my hair.”
Chloe looked at Gerard and mentally swallowed a sigh. He was avoiding her question again without giving a proper answer.
That was very typical of him.
However, her husband’s bangs were just so lovely that she couldn’t help it. Chloe brushed aside her disappointment and stroked Gerard’s hair slowly.
‘Yes, I can ask him again next time.’
However, the next opportunity came faster than she thought.
The incident took place the following evening. Helena and the Blanchett family were enjoying tea after dinner.
“You’re going to bed soon, Abel, so please stop eating cookies.”
“Mother, just one more.”
Chloe tried to take the cookies Abel had in his hand. However, Helena stopped her.
“Let him eat one more. Eating one more won’t change anything.”
“Even so… I’m afraid it will become a habit if he eats like this.”
“It’s all right, it’s fine. Won’t it all go to his height?”
Abel, who gained a strong ally, smiled and took another bite of the cookies. Gerard sided with his wife after watching quietly.
“Abel Blanchett. Aren’t you going to listen to your mother?”
Abel hesitated as he glanced at his grandmother.
“Yes, what’s wrong with one cookie? You should let Abel do as he pleases while I’m here.”
“Our family has its own rules. However, it’s difficult if mother changes it as you please.”
“No, I didn’t…”
Helena was bewildered by her son’s terrifying expression. Moreover, she was disappointed that Gerard had drawn such a sharp distinction between her and her son’s family.
“…I won’t eat them anymore.”
Abel was listening to his grandmother and father’s conversation and decided to put the cookies down.
“Instead, can Grandma put me to sleep again today? I want to hear the story you told me yesterday again.”
“The story I told you yesterday? Oh, the story about the town at the edge of the western area?”
Helena had put Abel to sleep last night. The child always listened to fairy tale books read by his parents, but it was interesting hearing the stories his grandmother told him after traveling to various places.
“Of course I’ll do it for you. Don’t you know who you are asking?”
Abel kicked his feet in the air, getting excited by his grandmother’s words.
“By the way, Grandma.”
“Who is Raphael?”
Silence sat heavy on the tea table for a moment upon the mention of Raphael. From Helena, who stiffened awkwardly, to Gerard, with a scary expression on his face.
“What… What do you mean, Abel?”
However, having not noticed the subtle awkward tension among the adults, Abel went on.
“No, you told me last night that I looked like Raphael. Who is Raphael? Is he a hero in a fairy tale? Or is he a knight like my father?”
Despite Abel’s simple question, Gerard noticed how things had unfolded. His mother must have brought up that name to his son last night.
Gerard’s anger elevated quickly as he held his breath and closed his eyes. A grim flashback of the past struck him upon the mention of a name he heard a long time ago.
‘D*mn Raphael Blanchett.’
It felt as if his anger could turn his hair white. He wanted to turn the tea table upside down.
However, there was no way he could show such a hideous expression in front of his wife and son.
“…My Lady, would you like to go to bed with Abel first?”
Gerard decided to dismiss his wife and son.
Chloe swallowed the words on the tip of her tongue when she saw her husband’s trembling fist. The veins on his hand were protruding, which showed how little patience he had.
Although she had a lot of questions and thoughts, she decided to leave for now.
“Let’s go upstairs now, Abel.”
“I’ll be putting you to sleep today, let’s go.”
“I don’t want to… I want to sleep with Grandma.”
“Come on, Abel Blanchett.”
Chloe said firmly to Abel, who was whining. The mother’s low voice forced the child to get up from his seat.
“Good night, Grandma! Good night, Father!”
Abel said to his grandmother and father before following his mother.
“Yes… Good night, Abel.”
Only two of them were left after Abel and Chloe disappeared, but the atmosphere of the drawing room became cold in an instant. Right, she forgot for a second.
Family wasn’t soft and loving for Gerard. It was cold and stark.
“Did you mention his name to the child?”
Gerard asked harshly.
“How dare you mention Raphael’s name to my son?!”
His indefinite anger was directed at Helena.
“No, Gerard. I was just…”
Helena closed her mouth in the midst of trying to make excuses.
The name she mentioned to Abel yesterday came out of nowhere. It was because the child’s eyes that looked up at her resembled him so much. Therefore, his name slipped out of her mouth like a sigh.
“Really? You didn’t change at all.”
Gerard gritted his teeth.
“Ger, I was watching Abel and I just suddenly thought of Raphael… So I said it unconsciously!”
Helena’s excuse was cut off by Gerard’s laugh.
“Don’t call me Ger. If you call me that, wouldn’t it make us appear close?”
“You have never been a proper mother to me, so why?! Why are you being so shameless now?”
Gerard confessed his feelings that he had long endured.
He felt uncomfortable whenever he saw his mother smiling as if nothing had happened. He was sad and angry whenever his mother was affectionate with his son.
Sometimes, he would feel foreign when his mother looked so normal and seemed to blend harmoniously with his family.
However, he didn’t understand his feelings, so he was able to calm himself down.
He wondered if it would have been nice if ‘time is the best medicine’ was the truth. However, time was fast. Those who hurt him could easily shake off that time for the rest of their lives.
The child who was living inside Gerard still despised and resented his mother. That child hadn’t heard a word of apology from his mother and was still trapped in the past.
“I don’t want to see you anymore.”
Problems that weren’t properly addressed were bound to explode someday. And for the relationship between Gerard and Helena, that day was today as those problems had been lingering forever.
“…What? What do you mean?”
“Please don’t involve my family in your family drama anymore.”
“Now, do you mean you’re going to cut me off?”
Gerard stood up as he said so. Why did he continue this meaningless relationship until now?
“Please leave as soon as possible.”
Helena couldn’t hold her son back, who was growing distant from her. She could only look longingly at him.
Actually, she had been expecting this day to come. Sometimes, she could see the unresolved resentment and hatred in his eyes.
Helena knew it too. She didn’t deserve to be called a mother.
Even so, she was greedy because he never pushed her away before, but it seemed that it was over for her now. If she knew this would happen, she would have said something that she couldn’t say all this time because she was too scared.
‘Mother is sorry, baby.’
Hot tears dripped down Helena’s eyes along with her words.
Helena could only come to see her son with excuses that she came for her grandson. Her regrets came far too late.
Gerard paused at Helena’s apology. However, he ended up walking out of the drawing room without looking back at her.